While the IU baseball season came to an end Sunday night with a loss to Texas in the NCAA Tournament's Austin regional, there were still opportunities this week for Hoosier players to become household names by being selected in the 2018 MLB Draft.
Any IU player that has completed their junior or senior year, or is at least 21 years old, may be selected by any of the 30 MLB teams.
The draft started Monday night and marks the first event of the offseason for IU. While the Hoosiers didn't have any players selected Monday night during the first two rounds of the draft, they didn't have to wait long to hear junior pitcher Jonathan Stiever's name called Tuesday afternoon.
Stiever was selected in the fifth round with the 138th overall pick by the Chicago White Sox. With his selection, Stiever became the 91st all-time draft pick from the IU baseball team since the MLB Draft began in 1965.
Furthermore, Stiever is the highest draft pick to come out of IU since then-junior catcher and outfielder Kyle Schwarber was taken fourth overall by the Chicago Cubs in the 2014 MLB Draft. Schwarber remains the highest draft pick in IU baseball history.
As far as pitchers are concerned, Stiever is the sixth pitcher in IU program history to be drafted in the first five rounds of the draft, and the first since 2013.
During his junior season, Stiever led the Big Ten Conference in strikeouts with 97, and in strikeouts looking with 37. He pitched the second-most innings of any Big Ten pitcher as well, throwing 100.1 innings of work over the course of his 16 appearances for IU, all of which were starts.
The 2018 season saw him return to form after a disappointing 2017 campaign in which Stiever had a 4.31 ERA and opposing batters hit for a .275 average against the right-handed pitcher. By comparison, opponents only hit for a .250 average against Stiever in 2018, a career-best for the Wisconsin native.
Stiever finished the season with a 3.41 ERA and was one of eight Hoosiers to receives All-Big Ten honors. Along with sophomore outfielder Matt Gorski and junior utility player Matt Lloyd, Stiever was named First Team All-Big Ten, marking the first time since 2014 that IU had three players named first team all-conference.
This is the first time Stiever has been drafted, as he was not selected when he graduated from Cedarburg High School in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. He was a first team all-state pitcher and an all-state football player while in high school, in addition to being named the Football State Player of the Year for his play at wide receiver and defensive back by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
In addition to being the Friday night starter for IU during the last two seasons, Stiever has also worked on his pitching during the summer months. In 2016, he pitched in the New England Collegiate League for the Vermont Mountaineers, and last summer he pitched in the Cape Cod League for the Brewster Whitecaps.
According to Baseball America, Stiever was the 125th ranked prospect in the 2018 draft class, describing him as "a solid athlete that repeats delivery well." He was ranked even higher in the draft class by MLBPipeline.com, which projected him as the 88th ranked prospect in the draft class. The website said Stiever is an athletic right-handed pitcher that "generates quality strikes and maintains stuff deep into games while also earning praise for his competitiveness."
The projected signing bonus for Stiever's draft position totals just more than $386,000, but he still has the option to return to IU for his senior season before re-entering the MLB Draft in 2019.
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